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S16.E04: Surprise...It's Restaurant Wars


aquarian1
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The Restaurant Wars challenge comes early this year; first, the chefs duke it out in an amuse bouche-based Quickfire; with 12 chefs remaining, three restaurants battle for victory; Tom makes an announcement that leaves the chefs breathless.

Air date: December 27, 2018

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In last week's "Coming Next Week" previews they showed Tom saying this was the toughest RW he ever had to judge.  Could it really be worse than the year everybody sucked so hard they finally had to do the whole week over?  I'm sure that was not a popular decision with the producers.

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42 minutes ago, Totale said:

Tom saying this was the toughest RW he ever had to judge.  Could it really be worse than the year everybody sucked so hard they finally had to do the whole week over? 

I assumed he meant it was tough because it was close not because it was a failure.

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4 hours ago, xfuse said:

Nope, it's always my least favorite ep. I also don't think it's fair since generally the person who wins or leaves is either the front house person or the EC. The 'line cooks' gets a free pass.

Agree.  It is always  stressful.

Tonight's  episode  pointed out that having experienced servers is important.  Yikes.

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20 hours ago, Toothbrush said:

Am I the only one who despises RW? 

Absofuckinglutely. Awful. So stressful & I'm just sitting on my couch. I can't begin to imagine my blood pressure if I was there. 

19 minutes ago, Thumper said:

Agree.  It is always  stressful.

Tonight's  episode  pointed out that having experienced servers is important.  Yikes.

Idiot servers. Have they ever been to a restaurant? Nutbars.

i was digging Nini til tonight. Don't let me down, Nini!

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If they don't leave the space in shambles and give them actors as servers it's really just 4 people cooking dishes in a team theme.   It's RW so this drama doesn't bother me much.  I like the 3 war twist!

I agree with Sara that Pablo gets something in his head and then just goes down with the ship.   He's shown an inability to improvise in previous challenges or just plate till the end and shrug his shoulders when it doesn't work out.  He's fodder.

Who is Michelle??   She's a low talker.

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9 minutes ago, Bastet said:

Thistle (Brandon, Michelle, Pablo, Sara):  Michelle saying with immunity, she’ll be Exec Chef, just makes sense, but I figure Brandon is going to act like he’s in charge regardless of who actually is. 

Letting Michelle be EC is only a good and logical solution if they don't end up on the bottom.  However, if they do, I feel a team's decision to let the person who can't be eliminated take charge is often questioned and ends up backfiring.  In other words, with everything on the line, why would they cede control?

And I agree about being annoyed that it was only part 1 of 2.  I didn't notice that until I came here and then read the description for next week. I would have waited to watch the whole thing all at once.

Restaurant Wars is also one of my least favorite weeks. It's super stressful, depends on random chemistry and servers who only show up that day.  Plus, at this point everyone sort of has a sense of what other people's strengths are but then they have to rely on self-reported knowledge of front-of-house ability.   I appreciated that one guy did a whole service book but do the servers really have a lot of time to learn it all?

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Nini's glasses are driving me crazy.  I want to push them up on her face and her eyes aren't close to being centered in the lense.  Those can't be comfortable, especially when it gets hot.  In her pictures she's not wearing glasses while she is plating so she much have been wearing contact lenses or recently needed glasses.

In other eye news, I loved Padma's blue eyeshadow tonight!  Perfect modern color.

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Why was Pablo so frantic?   He had a braised dish that was either oven or pressure cooker friendly that is always done on TC with little issue.....and a crudo dish.  He seemed like he was in the weeds and unsure of his flavors....from the start.

Nini's chocolate ice cream that is white seems cool.  I'm intrigued.

Chicken Ballontine guy got a lot of airtime today.  From a reality TV editing standpoint I'm worried for him.   His only saving grace is that Adrienne seems super in control and she is very smiley in all her retro talking heads.  But with 2 eliminations 2 teams have to lose...I guess they never said 2 chefs from 2 different teams....they can just pick 2 chefs from the whole lot of the 2 losing teams right?

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17 minutes ago, HappyDancex2 said:

But with 2 eliminations 2 teams have to lose...I guess they never said 2 chefs from 2 different teams....they can just pick 2 chefs from the whole lot of the 2 losing teams right?

I expected someone to ask, "Both from the losing team?"

They could go that route, but I tend to think part of this "we're doing it with 12 instead of 8" twist is that a total screw-up saved by the rest of their team isn't safe, and the weak link of the 2nd place team can be the second elimination if they were worse than the 2nd worse person on the losing team (or even the worst person on the winning team if they were an epic disaster bailed out by their team).

33 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

Letting Michelle be EC is only a good and logical solution if they don't end up on the bottom.  However, if they do, I feel a team's decision to let the person who can't be eliminated take charge is often questioned and ends up backfiring.  In other words, with everything on the line, why would they cede control?

They give lip service to that a good bit, but I don't think it's all that often that someone actually gets sent home for it. 

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I am very interested to see how all of this comes together next week. It seems like a whole lot of hot mess at this point, and like it might not get much better during service.

 

I also wonder how much Restaurant Wars is just a mindfuck for the chefs at this point. They have to cook for 100 people on demand and work in team challenges all the time, but this seems to uniquely make their collective wheels fall off.

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3 minutes ago, Bastet said:

They give lip service to that a good bit, but I don't think it's all that often that someone actually gets sent home for it. 

No, of course not, because there are usually three people giving that control to the person with immunity.  (Although, I'll say 2 since Front of House is often pretty important as well.)  But the logic behind letting Michelle do it was basically "it'll take the pressure off" where it should be "she's absolutely going to be the best at it" so we can avoid being in the bottom.

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I feel punked that we got only half an episode tonight. I suppose there's no LCK this week either. A 3-way restaurant wars is too chaotic to pull off in this format unless we're just trying to lose meaningless fodder, in which case, b'bye Pablo and Sara.

As far as FOH goes, and this displays my East Coast prejudices, I was thinking how in the hell are they going to find enough qualified and available cater-waiters for this in the state of Kentucky? I seem to be proven right so far.

Based on the air time and edit, I think Brian's a goner. I can only hope Sara is the other one.

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6 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

No, of course not, because there are usually three people giving that control to the person with immunity.  (Although, I'll say 2 since Front of House is often pretty important as well.)  But the logic behind letting Michelle do it was basically "it'll take the pressure off" where it should be "she's absolutely going to be the best at it" so we can avoid being in the bottom.

If she was playing the game well she should volunteer for Expediter, run it into the ground and watch one of her teammates get bounced...that is if she thought a "main" competitor to win it all was actually on her team.   She seems pretty passive though.   Where's Josie?  LOL

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On 12/26/2018 at 8:41 PM, Totale said:

Could it really be worse than the year everybody sucked so hard they finally had to do the whole week over? 

Oh tell me more. What season was that? I love to watch RWs because I'm evil and love to watch at least one team crash and burn.

2 hours ago, The Solution said:

I feel punked that we got only half an episode tonight. I suppose there's no LCK this week either.

I was not prepared for the To Be Continued. I wanted to see a train wreck tonight.

I don't know many names yet so please bear with me. I think the team with the tall obnoxious guy (Brian?) who wrote the longest service manual ever produced for a one shot deal, is going down in flames. I think NiNi's  (glasses and FOTH for her team) team will not suck as much and I'm hoping Michelle's (the one who has immunity and has to be louder) team wins because I like Michelle..

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4 hours ago, Bastet said:

The things out of their control - how the dining spaces are set up and how experienced the servers are - should be handled differently; it's cheap drama to have the spaces not set up by the time they get there and start the six-hour countdown and for some of the servers, whom they had no choice in "hiring" as they would in reality, to be inexperienced.  

I've never understood why they use inexperienced people (who I assume are actors) to be servers. What's the point? Why can't they find experienced people to do the job? In fact, lots of actors work as wait staff in between jobs, they should be able to find actors with restaurant experience, so why don't they?

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3 hours ago, zibnchy said:
On 12/26/2018 at 8:41 PM, Totale said:

Could it really be worse than the year everybody sucked so hard they finally had to do the whole week over? 

Oh tell me more. What season was that? I love to watch RWs because I'm evil and love to watch at least one team crash and burn.

Season 3, Miami.

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3 hours ago, GaT said:

I've never understood why they use inexperienced people (who I assume are actors) to be servers. What's the point? Why can't they find experienced people to do the job? In fact, lots of actors work as wait staff in between jobs, they should be able to find actors with restaurant experience, so why don't they?

I always assume the pay for these things is crap, if they pay at all. I assume it's the same for the designers they choose, who probably are getting pennies on the dollar in exchange for "exposure". If they hired people who specialized in executing these pop-up style venues it wouldn't be such a shitshow and even Nini would have had time to figure out how to organize her servers. Like, c'mon the tables should one of the first things that get set up, and none of those painfully enthusiastic party planners were around to even tell them where they eventually would be? 

Justin was justified (teehee) in raging that not only was Nini not done with her own dish, but also kept flitting away to do...whatever while Kelsey was trying to do her job and train the servers. But, I think it's going to come back to haunt Nini that she acquiesced to Justin's demand to spin her ice cream already. They've already established there's not a lot of room in the freezers, and they weren't cold enough to freeze the ice cream in the first place. Her dish will have melted by the time the guests work through the first few courses. 

Wow, is Adrienne cracking the whip for that team or what? It's good she's there, because Brian seems to not comprehend the level of wait staff he's working with. Writing a service manual probably makes sense when everyone is coming in with years of waitstaff experience and you're trying to add that extra flourish that makes it a high-end dining experience. These servers didn't even know what to do after introducing themselves to guests, that's way too much information overload. Good on that one woman for gamely trying to read through that thesis on her own.

Edited by rozen
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Wouldn’t you think that if RWs was going to be multiple episodes that someone would have thought to air them back to back same night?   

I am with the poster that said they would have waited to watch the episode until next week. 

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19 minutes ago, Ellee said:

Wouldn’t you think that if RWs was going to be multiple episodes that someone would have thought to air them back to back same night?   

When I saw TC was also on at 10, I hung around for a couple of seconds, hoping it would be the second part.  Just a repeat of the  first part, though.  

Edited by mwell345
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10 hours ago, MerBearStare said:

Seriously? To be continued? They couldn't have just had a two hour episode instead of showing the same episode twice? Dumb.

I was very surprised when they had a Quickfire for what I already knew was restaurant wars. Don't they typically skip that? So then the "to be continued" makes perfect sense..... I also think the guy doing the boneless chicken thing is getting the pack-your-knives edit.

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8 hours ago, Fukui San said:

Restaurant Wars is when you should break out your non labor intensive but tasty dish. The most genius dish in Restaurant Wars I can remember was Spike making a beef short rib that everyone liked. Not because everyone liked it, but because it took all of 20 minutes of labor to throw meat, veggies, wine and spices into a crockpot and have it simmer all day while he could spend time doing other stuff. Every Restaurant Wars menu should have like 2 or 3 dishes like that.

Exactly!  I don’t understand why FOH doesn’t do a soup?  You start the soup at the beginning of the day and let it simmer.  Your teammates can stir and watch it while you train the wait staff.  At service, all one has to do is put it in a bowl and do last minute toppings, etc.  

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The editors showing Third Coast’s overconfidence in the beginning seems like ominous foreshadowing.

Eddie Money asking the butcher for the cheapest cuts of meat was funny. Lesson learned.

6 hours ago, GaT said:

I've never understood why they use inexperienced people (who I assume are actors) to be servers. What's the point? Why can't they find experienced people to do the job? In fact, lots of actors work as wait staff in between jobs, they should be able to find actors with restaurant experience, so why don't they?

This is a reality show so I think the producers want the FOH chaos. I also think that a chef that can pull off a perfect service despite all the handicaps is one of the more impressive and memorable things a chef can accomplish all season.

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4 minutes ago, jackjill89 said:

They don't have time to read and digest a manual.

yeah that might be fine for a real restaurant, for reference and a reminder of what is expected. But there's no way it makes any sense in this situation.

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I wonder when they have these designers, do the chefs have no say? Was there no discussion of table layout when they met with the designers? Because they could have just told the servers to imagine the tables here and there, then proceed to finish training them. Then tell the designers the tables must go here and there. (I should say, I've never worked in a restaurant so maybe there's a reason just imagining the tables wouldn't work.)

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I can't believe that a big event space like the one they used wouldn't have in house caterers, or a list of caterers, and have waitstaff that at least know what a fork is.    

I can't wait for part 2..      

Maybe it would have been better for a triple elimination, with one gone from each team, because there's always a weak link on each team.  

Scheduling Alert-Next week my cable guide says Part 2 is at 7 central, and there are no reruns of this week, or previous episodes.  

Edited by CrazyInAlabama
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Just wondering if anyone else noticed that the same company from last year was doing the designing for the restaurants? Remember last year it was Craftsy? Well, it is them again this year with a new name! Blueprint is now the overall name of Craftsy. They went through a big change-over this past year and that change over was a huge mess(at least in my eye). They have finally settled in and things are running smoother now but wonder if this has anything to do with the set ups? I thought I remembered that when the chefs showed up before, the basic set-up for each restaurant was done...it just needed "tweaking"...not this year, it was just an empty set and as someone mentioned up above, no sign of the designers I saw. It is one thing to set up the restaurant to your liking if it is done and all you need to do is rearrange tables, etc. but to start from scratch is a bit much. I kinda' laughed(and sighed) when someone said that some area would be here...or not. Seemed really chaotic and unsettling for everyone.

 

****Edited to add that apparently the changes at Craftsy/Blueprint are still going on. They have "cleaned house" today(12/28) and many of the older or not so popular patterns have been banished! The sellers were only told about this last week, so there was no time to save their stores...they were told when the change occurred, it was final. So the whole company seems a bit in disarray.

Edited by suebee12
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Hey Tom, this is Top CHEF, not Top SERVER. (I will never forget Jamie and her Top Scallop, lol Fabio!) Honestly, I want to watch people cook. I have no problem with the personalities and the team challenges--a necessity with this many people early in the season--but the drama of the decor and table placement and where the glasses and silverware go...who cares? Has the guy who wrote the service manual not read the internet? I know I've read that these people are never trained servers--they're PAs or something. You'd need something like flash cards or Dining for Dummies for these people.

Actually, I think he's the same guy last week who said he didn't have a dessert ready, even though he knew he would need at least one dessert recipe. 

Total aside: my sister has worked in restaurants her whole life and in her new job she has to train new servers. She says the new ones (the youngest ones) have hardly eaten in real, sit-down-with-menus restaurants. It's like hiring a bartender who's never had a mixed drink.

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10 hours ago, zibnchy said:

Oh tell me more. What season was that? I love to watch RWs because I'm evil and love to watch at least one team crash and burn.

It was Hung's season, but that was a complete set up that they would throw out the first week's results. We've seen worse, I think. Or else the show just happened to have the RW facility for a few more days, and just happened to have the extra help they threw in available at short notice, Sommelier Stephen Aspirino (Season 1 Cheftestant) and "celebrity" interior designer Madonna's Brother to design the spaces.

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13 hours ago, HappyDancex2 said:

Why was Pablo so frantic?   He had a braised dish that was either oven or pressure cooker friendly that is always done on TC with little issue.....and a crudo dish.  He seemed like he was in the weeds and unsure of his flavors....from the start.

Nini's chocolate ice cream that is white seems cool.  I'm intrigued.

Chicken Ballontine guy got a lot of airtime today.  From a reality TV editing standpoint I'm worried for him.   His only saving grace is that Adrienne seems super in control and she is very smiley in all her retro talking heads.  But with 2 eliminations 2 teams have to lose...I guess they never said 2 chefs from 2 different teams....they can just pick 2 chefs from the whole lot of the 2 losing teams right?

Lol, love that you remember the dish, but not the chef's name!!

Sometimes it's winning, losing, neutral teams. So 2 from the same team would be out. But who knows with the way the teams are at this point, they all could be headed for disaster.

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Two parters are done on many series, so I'm not sure why many of you are so surprised. Plus they started the season late on purpose-less weeks with no new episode.  RW is meant to be stressful. Why? Because opening a restaurant is stressful. They needed to treat this just like a pop up. But as usual, they are making some of the same mistakes. That's what happens when you are over confident(bubble bath anyone?), or not prepared because somehow you thought RW would be later. It's a competition. It's also the 16th season. Did they think everything would be the same? Of course, they did. Also with pop ups, you don't know who you're going to be able to get to serve. I know many who had to use family members. For me, anyone who was going to be front of the house-should never have a dish of their own. Focus should be on front of the house. And until the servers are there, you help out. They never do that. It's always-'I'll make something easy, simple, etc". Or in Brian's case, something difficult, but I'll convince the others it's not. These are all good/great chefs in their own environment. But they need to remind themselves, that while the judges say push yourself, take risk-they don't mean to the detriment of your dish....or yourself.

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28 minutes ago, snarktini said:

I hated how the dining rooms were still being painted during food prep, and tables weren't in place a half hour out. Where was the design team? How could they train their (totally unqualified) waitstaff? That feels like producer sabotage.

I'd also be worried about fumes from paint affecting how food tasted and/or smelled. I know it didn't have an effect on prep, as they showed one team indicating that something in the oven smelled done; but I'd still be worried about how it affected the diners.

And you know damn well that even though the Cheftestants aren't responsible for the installation of tables and decor, you know they will get blamed if one potted plant is out of place or the restaurant name is crooked on the wall. 

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1 hour ago, CrazyInAlabama said:

Scheduling Alert-Next week my cable guide says Part 2 is at 7 central, and there are no reruns of this week, or previous episodes.  

That would be 8pm Eastern, which makes sense because IIRC, Million Dollar Listing LA returns next Thursday at 9pm.

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15 hours ago, Nordly Beaumont said:

I laughed when she said she'd be EC and Brandon said "You can be .... louder?"

Me too.  He can be a douche but an EC needs to be in charge and talking with authority is part of that.

I hate Restaurant Wars but one good part from way back was Hung getting Sara Nair the EC to take charge when she needed to.

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